Make Quick Work of Cleaning Your Refrigerator

by Bonnie Roberts
(last updated August 15, 2016)

If you're like me, you've put off cleaning your refrigerator for way too long because you're intimidated by the enormity of the task. You probably have leftovers in there that no human should ever eat, and I wouldn't doubt that an unpleasant smell wafts out every time you open the door. You shouldn't have to live like this, nor should you have to devote an entire afternoon to the task of cleaning that monster! Who has that kind of time, anyway?

This method is for those who would rather not take each item out of the fridge, put it into a cooler, scrub every surface from top to bottom, and put it all back again (and then not be able to find things for the next few days because they're out of their usual places). If you don't mind that method, go ahead and keep using it. But if you're looking for a quicker solution, read on.

All you'll need for this job is a wastebasket and a container of some of those antibacterial cleaning wipes, like Lysol or Clorox brand. (If you don't have those, some antibacterial cleaning spray and paper towels will work just as well; it's just not as convenient.)

  1. Turn down the temperature so you don't waste power while the door's open.
  2. Take all the items out of the very top shelves/compartments in the door and just place them on the floor nearby. While you're doing this, quickly check the expiration dates on older condiments and toss in the trash if expired. Scrub the exposed surface of the shelf with a cleaning wipe. Put everything back where it was.
  3. Repeat step 2 with the rest of the door shelves, working down to the bottom. Don't forget to run the wipe around the rubber seal surrounding the door.
  4. Take all the items off the top shelf in the main part of the refrigerator and place them on the floor. Discard anything old. If the shelf's really dirty, remove the entire shelf to make it easier to scrub. Otherwise, just run the wipe over the surface. Also wipe the walls around the shelf. Replace the food.
  5. Work your way down each shelf, repeating the process as you go. When you get to the crisper drawers, remove them, dump out any crumbs, then wipe them out. If there is standing water on the bottom of the fridge, sop it up with paper towels.
  6. Very important: Turn the temperature back up. (I forgot this step one time and ruined all the food, but I will never forget again.)

If you have a problem with unpleasant smells, just keep an open box of baking soda in the fridge. It will absorb the odors. Now your fridge should be clean and germ-free.

Author Bio

Bonnie Roberts


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